Is San Blas open for sailboat charters?
We have been asked this question many times and always our answer is "yes".
There are two issues to consider:
1st: When the pandemic hit worldwide, the Kuna Congreso took the only option possible on their side and decided to cut the road to access San Blas by closing the border and not letting any tourist in. With that move all the 3 piers normally used by our guests to access our catamarans were just not possible to reach. Road transfers from Panama City to San Blas are just not allowed by the San Blas Congreso. All that was back in 2020 and beginning of 2021. Border relaxation is expected during the first months of 2021.
2nd: Panamanian law clearly dictates that the Kuna Congreso has absolutely no jurisdiction over the waters of San Blas, cannot enforce any movement restrictions on those waters and of course cannot block the use of any port not located in their land.
Our solution: we embark and disembark outside of the San Blas region; this way we bypass the Kuna border. New meeting point for our trips as long as the border closure is in place is Linton Bay Marina, that means you will embark the night before, around 8 pm at no extra cost and very early in the morning we will sail to the San Blas islands, reaching that same morning around 10 Am which is the time you would have embarked using the initial road transfer from Panama City. Disembarking will also be done in Linton Bay Marina, expect to be in the marina around 11 am, again similar same time you would have reached Panama City with the old road transfers.
Once in San Blas, as always, we will be sailing in the most remote, isolated and pristine islands with very few or mostly non indigenous residents thus limiting your exposure. If you desire to visit the Kuna indians by going ashore, normal COVID precautions such as the use of masks and security distances must be respected.
You could also fly to San Blas on a private plane departing from Albrook terminal in Panama City.